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report card
Classroom
November 12, 2016

Sanity Tips: Don’t Go Crazy At Report Card Time

Keep your sanity at report card time! The day before report card day is one of four days a year students miraculously care about the number in the grade book. Nobody cared when I said, "Sure, get that to me tomorrow," or "It'll be posted on the Google Classroom Wall." Today they care--because they're about to get "the lecture" at home. They line up at your door, knock during class, and send a thousand emails to try to make up work before grades go home. If you're strong and amazing, you probably have an ironclad policy for this, something like "No!" I've…
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13 tips
Classroom
September 21, 2016

13 Tips for Being an Amazing Teacher

Someone on Quora asked me to give tips for teaching at a high school, so, I did. Then I posted it on Medium under the title "13 Tips & Non-negotiables for Teaching at a High School." Here are the 13 Tips and the original post: Each of these things have made me the teacher I am today. Do these things, and you’ll be the type of high school teacher every student will remember as “that teacher.” We need more of “that teacher” in every school in America. YOU MUST: have a sense of humor, an unshakeable will, and the ability to…
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Classroom
September 18, 2016

Celebrate Constitution Day with FREE Resources

Celebrate Constitution Day! The the United States Constitution was signed in September of 1787. It wasn't ratified by the nine states needed to allow it to take effect until June 21, 1788. That's three-quarters of a year later. If you think our political process is slow today, think of how much work it took to get the Constitution approved! The Constitution is the highest law of the land. It's the glue that holds the nation together. It's a living, breathing document that has been working hard for over two centuries. Teach a lesson honor of the Constitution today. Here are some free Constitution Day resources to get…
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smile
ClassroomLifestyle
September 3, 2016

Smile: It’s Your Best School Year Ever

Back to school season is expensive, but one thing that's free is a smile. Studies show a smile makes life better.  Smiling puts your brain in a very different space. Teaching is hard. I often say it's like playing dodge ball but I'm the one in the middle and everyone's throwing baseballs. There are a million requirements, and anyone who thinks "teaching" is actually teaching has never been on the long side of a faculty meeting. There are more regulations than ever before, and you have to keep on top of all of them--everything from testing to standards, to red tape to blue…
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teacher appreciation
Classroom
May 3, 2016

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

An alum of mine posted a picture of drinks on my Facebook wall for Teacher Appreciation Week.  She told me I was awesome and said she'd buy me "tea," but she suspected she'd put something else in the tea.  I wonder if she thought I needed it. The absolute best part wasn't the appreciation--it was that this student was a school hater in her day.  She's now working on her second degree raising a family.  That's what teachers do when we make relationships and let kids follow passions.  It's often impossible to realize the impact of that in real time. That's why…
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students with phones
ClassroomTechnology
May 1, 2016

“I Want to Smash Their Phones”

"I want to smash their phones." This is the number one complaint I hear about middle and high school students with phones.   It often gets directed to me. "I know you wanted students to have phones, but..." I'm a big fan of BYOD*--Bring Your Own Device--for a number of reasons. Who doesn't like their own phone, computer or tablet?  Studies show people are more productive when given a device they favor. I don't have access to computers in my classroom--I have a few student stations but not enough for a class of 25 or 30.  Enter--phones.  Between student phones and my five computers,…
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pinterest
ClassroomTechnology
April 30, 2016

Pinterest in the Classroom

Do you use Pinterest in the classroom?  If not, you should. Pinterest used to be a place for dumping pictures of all the cool things you wanted to buy and projects you never got around to finishing.  Not anymore--Pinterest is the place to be for research, collaboration, and learning. If you're in the habit of putting things under "Recipes" or "Home Remodeling," and leaving them to rot on your pinboards, stop right there and repeat after me, "Pinterest is God's gift to schools." Why do you need Pinterest? Today, Pinterest is nothing less than an amazingly robust database of everything under the sun, categorized, grouped…
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twitter
ClassroomTechnology
April 10, 2016

You Need to Get Connected! Twitter 101 for Teachers

Are you on Twitter yet?  If you're a teacher, you should be. "No man is an island."  Someone really great said that. Teaching often feels like one.   I have a saying, "If you're more than two rooms past me, or farther than the bathroom, I won't see you till June."  That's not the way teaching should be, but it often is.  I once introduced myself to a woman at a conference--turns out we'd worked together for two years.  She was on the other side of the school. That's terrible--but the fact is, teachers often get isolated. Sometimes we're put…
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ClassroomLifestyle
April 2, 2016

Excuses Bringing You Down? How To Be a Productivity Ninja

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB2Q1Jt_Kd4 "You're late again." I've got a student who's late every day, each time with a better excuse.  We don't use the clock anymore--class officially starts with a round of applause when he arrives.  Then we all get to work. Everyone's got an excuse. "My little brother peed on my notebook," one kid said.  "So I don't have any of my stuff." That excuse was true. There's always an excuse out there.  Some are better than others.  I've got a collection. The ironic part is the biggest ones don't come from students. They come from adults.  Whether we justify doing things the way we've always…
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surplus
Classroom
March 13, 2016

Dump Your Surplus. Get What You Really Need

If you have five million boxes of staples and there's not a single pencil in site, you've got to do something immediately to get rid of your surplus to get the things you really need. You don't want to file a request in triplicate that won't get here till June.  Take matters into your own hands before it's too late. Here are four ways to dump your surplus and get what you need Organize a Yankee Swap The Yankee swap is a holiday gift swapping tradition that allegedly took its name from prisoner exchanges during the Civil War.  Confederate troops were anxious to trade…
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